A bipartisan group of United Sates lawmakers demanded Friday that the United Nations remove Iran from leading upcoming disarmament talks.
In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 72 House members said Iran's “continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” “grotesque human rights record” and “role as a leading state sponsor of terrorism” should “disqualify” it from chairing the U.N. Conference on Disarmament, The Hill reported.
The next round of Geneva-based talks will take place from next Monday through June 23.
“By allowing Iran to chair this Conference, the United Nations is legitimizing a tyrannical regime committed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction while delegitimizing the United Nations as a force to contain nuclear weapons,” the letter said, according to The Hill. “Indeed, a conference seeking nuclear transparency and disarmament will be led by a country operating a dangerous and covert nuclear program that threatens global nuclear instability.”
The letter was initiated by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Mike Kelly (R-Penn.). It was also signed by the chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
The State Department has said it will withdraw its ambassador to the talks if Iran remains the chair. However, the department will still send junior officials to the talks.